During Dharminder Sen's Pre-Trial Conference Tuesday morning in 4th Judicial District Court, Judge John Fenn addressed several motions. The first two were decisions he made on motions that were put before the Court earlier this summer.
On the Motion to Suppress statements made during Sen's interrogation, Judge Fenn found that Sen had clearly been in custody and advised of his Miranda Rights, where he invoked his right to remain silent. Upon asking to speak a second time to DCI agents, while he inquired if he should get a lawyer, he never unequivocally stated that he wanted one, and therefore the Court found no reason to suppress the full interrogation recording as evidence.
Judge Fenn also denied the Motion to Suppress gunshot residue, or GSR, evidence taken from Sen when he was in custody. The Defense had argued that Sen was given a warrantless search when the GSR kit swabs were taken from Sen's hands and face. And while the Court acknowledged that that could be considered a borderline issue because Sen's hands had not been bagged to prevent possible contamination of evidence, the Court also understood evidence was slipping away with time.
After those decisions were made, Judge Fenn addressed two new motions: a Defense Motion to Sever the burglary charge on Sen for his alleged stealing of the 9 mm handgun a few days prior to the shooting; and a State's Motion In Limine to prevent expert testimony from the Wyoming State Hospital on a “Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Illness or Deficiency” plea.
On the latter, Judge Fenn said he would not rule until a later date. The State has until September 28th to file the Motion; the Defense has until October 8th to respond.
On the Motion to Sever, Judge Fenn denied the motion, stating that the Court is in a “unique position,” having had information from Dennis Poitra, Jr.'s trial to learn how the gun had been used before, during and after the shooting. Judge Fenn, contrary to defense attorney Tim Cotton's vehement argument that the burglary of the gun was a completely separate case, said that the two are “very much connected,” and that any prejudice perceived by the Defense is not there.